Bay to Ocean Writers Conference 2014

The Bay to Ocean Writers Conference (BTO) will hold its 17th annual conference on February 22, 2014. The process takes a dedicated group of volunteers and Laura and I have been involved for many years. It’s one of the ways we give back to the writing community on the Delmarva Peninsula. Here’s a sneak peak of the cover of this year’s program.

BTO 2014 Cover

We have filled many roles at BTO although Laura’s have been more in the design arena than mine. We have both been involved in planning, coordinating, contacting faculty, sourcing hand-outs, stuffing tote bags, being at the facility at 6:30 in the morning to get ready for the eager attendees, and putting our brush fires during the day. We put up signs and colored tape on the hallway floors so people will know where to go. We always think we are going to attend some of the terrific sessions, but usually too tired. By the time the conference actually starts we’ve been up since 4:30 a.m. and are wrecked.

Laura designs the BTO program and coordinates the design with the tote bag. Tote bags are ordered months in advance and usually from close-out stock. We’ve had some really great totes over the years since Laura has been in charge of them. The cover of the program this year is a digitally altered photograph by Coleman Sellers VI.

In its seventeen year history, the conference has been held in several locations. The first conferences were sponsored by the Friends of Easton’s Library and were held in the Tidewater and the Avalon Theatre. Now the event is sponsored by the Eastern Shore Writers Association and held at the Chesapeake College which is a wonderful venue. All the classrooms are well equipped with all the digital equipment any presenter could want. It makes it easy for us to attract an excellent faculty. This year we again sold out a month before the conference and have a waiting list. For the fee, this one day conference is an incredible bargain. (Photo below is from a previous year. We are hoping for another no snow photo this year.)


One of our volunteers is Anny Williams. Anny is not a writer; she describes herself as an appreciator of writers. She also bakes cookies for our meetings. We love Anny! The first year Anny was involved in BTO she came wearing a bright yellow sweater and yellow gloves. She told us people like to be welcomed to an event, so she stood outside in the cold and greeted people as they came into the building. If somebody looked like they didn’t know where they were going she corralled them with a shout, “Are you looking for BTO?” Anny is now the Official Greeter of BTO, the first smiling face people see, and her yellow sweater and gloves are her trademark.

Laura and I are always glad when BTO is over, but the lull is brief. We’ll start planning for BTO 2015 in March.

5 thoughts on “Bay to Ocean Writers Conference 2014

  1. We remember Anny from Hannah’s first trip to BTO last year! She was a wonderfully welcome, and welcoming, sight. And I remember the yellow gloves and sweater, and how they brightened that rainy day. I think she even had an umbrella and dashed over to escort the umbrella-less in.
    It was a very well-run event, and Hannah is eagerly looking forward to attending again. Thanks so much Mala, for your generosity. And thanks to you, Lara, and all the others who make BTO possible!
    Liz Zerai


  2. Liz, I wanted to include a photo of Anny but after an hour on my computer trying to locate one I gave up. I’ll take one this year and post it. Anny is a treasure in our community.


  3. Thanks to you, Laura and all the other wonderful volunteers who make BTO such a great experience. And while Anny is a treasure in our community, she’s not the only one 😉


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